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"Forced apologies" - Page 2

post #21 of 77
I totally agree with "making amends." I've also read about asking "curiosity questions."

Example: "Why is Mary crying?" "What do you think you could do to make her feel better?"

DD will usually apologize or tell me they could take turns with the toy she took away, etc.
They also learn through example. If they see you apologize, they are more likely to do so themselves, imo. I really think it is possible to teach them to apologize without forcing them to.
post #22 of 77
I have to admit, we do "forced" apologies...
I see it as part of the lesson on manners - there are certain rules for things we say in certain cirucmstances, whether we really mean it or not.
When our body makes a noise (ie burp or fart), we say excuse me.
When we do something that makes someone say "ow", we say I'm sorry. (It doesn't matter if it was on purpose or on accident. So many older kids balk at saying sorry "because it was an accident")
I know that at 2.5yo, it's too young to expect real empathy. But I do think that at this age, he can understand that he needs to acknowledge that it was his action that caused the "ow".
We are now working on the rule that says if you are about to do something that you know will make someone say ow, don't do it.
FWIW - the only people he seems to practice the "sorry" rule and it's limits on are me and DP.
post #23 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by cinnamongrrl View Post

There is also something I've noticed about some adults who, as children, were shamed into making apologies OR were never made to apologize. Both types often grow up to be adults who will NOT admit that they are ever wrong. Either they are so filled with shame when they make mistakes, that they cannot bear to lose face and admit they did something wrong. Or, the ones who were never made to think they did something wrong tend to have no conscience, to think that they simply don't make mistakes or have to answer to anyone.
It sounds like you're conflating "never made to apologize" with "never apologized," and I think they're two entirely different things. I'm another who never made my child apologize, but she certainly does apologize, and always has... honestly, she has nicer manners than I do. I think modeling had something to do with it, and also empathizing...

I am concerned about the issue of over-apologizing, which is especially a problem for women, IME. I've known quite a few women who apologize automatically, even for things that weren't their responsibility at all. Some men in our society try to blame problems on women, and rather than automatically apologizing, I think women need to think about what happened and decide if an apology is truly in order - and if not, they need to stand up for themselves.

Dar
post #24 of 77
I don't force apologies with my kids. After all, I only say I'm sorry when I actually am. There are plenty of times when I'm not sorry for something I've said or done, and I will not apologize . . . so why should my kids do it if they aren't sorry?

My five year old took a long time to start apologizing on her own, but now she does -- when she is sorry. Regardless, if she intentionally hurts someone, she has to take a break from being around people until she can be kind again . . . that's the logical consequence. The natural consequence is that sometimes, the other person doesn't want to be around her for awhile (and it could happen that they might never want to be around her again).

My two year old doesn't say sorry yet, but he is more empathetic than his sister ever was, and he will give hugs if you tell him that he hurt someone. I have a feeling he will start using the words when he has them.
post #25 of 77
Interesting thread. I've personally always lumped "I'm sorry" in with the general manners category, like please, thank you, and excuse me. But this thread has me thinking. My daughter has been empathetic practically from birth. She's always very concerned when she does something that hurts another person. When her brother came along, it threw a wrench in things. He's so different. I never thought that empathy was something to be taught, but you guys are giving me hope for my son. He doesn't apologize. He doesn't seem to have remorse when he pulls my hair or hits his sister. Mind you he's only two, but I know my daughter was apologizing at his age, so I wasn't sure how to deal with it.

I have been forcing apologies between them when they fight, but maybe this isn't the best approach. It certainly hasn't accomplished anything with my son. He'll say a quick "I'm sorry", and then immediatly bite his sister again.
post #26 of 77
We don't force apologies (or any other verbal habits). It's all about modeling, and now that he's mostly "got it," prompting.

Does he apologize? Definitely. I remember getting on a crowded bus one time with my toddler DS on my back in the Ergo, and as we worked our way down the aisle to somewhere we could stand comfortably, this little tiny voice on my back was saying "Excuse me... I'm sowwy... excuse me... I'm sowwy..." as we jostled past. ;-) When he started to "get" that "I'm sorry" was a response to bumping into something, he'd apologize to the sidewalk after falling and skinning his knee! It took a while for him to get the context, but eventually, he understood how it worked.

Most recently, I had it confirmed that he really had the concept when he fell asleep nursing on my lap (a very rare event these days), and as he drifted off, he clamped down a little with his teeth and I gasped in pain. My ASLEEP three-year-old mumbled "I'm sorry." ;-)

When he's wrapped up in things, he doesn't always notice that he bumped into someone or stepped on someone's toes or whatever. I point it out to him, so that he can gain more self-awareness, and then ask him, "Do you want to/can you apologize?" at which point he pretty much always does. If he notices that he accidentally bumped into someone, he will turn around and say "Oops sorry!" immediately.

Now, if he does something more deliberate, he's less likely to spontaneously apologize. That's when we get into the whole conversation about how our actions affect other people, and we talk about problem-solving and making amends. I don't often even get into the verbal apologies for those situations, and instead focus on addressing the issue that led to the conflict.

Another thing that I see as related... my son is a pretty empathetic kid, and aware of other people's feelings and distress. I think that the whole issue of apologizing and making amends is part of a larger category of teaching appropriate responses to others' negative feelings. So, if someone's feeling sad or in pain or whatever for reasons that have NOTHING to do with him, and he's noticing for whatever reason, we try to give him an appropriate action to help comfort the person. For example, we were at Disneyland with a group of friends, all adults but our son, and one (C) developed a migraine headache. Now, earlier in the day, C had been interacting with DS a lot, and DS had gotten in the habit of pointing stuff out to him and asking for feedback. ;-) So we had to explain that C didn't really feel like talking because his head hurt very bad. DS seemed kind of distressed by this, so we suggested he might give C a hug to help him feel better, which he thought was a great idea. A couple days later, our friend told me that was the highlight of the whole day for him... so it worked for everyone!
post #27 of 77
i don't do forced apologies.

here is what i usually do:

me: what happened? (very calm voice, actually calm voice all the way through)
dd: i pushed her, i snatched it out of her hand etc...
me: why?
dd: because she was in my way, i wanted to play with the toy etc...
me: do you know that you've hurt her? that's why she is crying. when you pushed her she fell over and hurt her leg.
dd: oh
me: if she is in your way, you need to ask her to move nicely and i model it out "can you please move so that i can...." or if it was the toy scenario, i remind her that she can either ask the child if she can have it or she needs to wait till that child is finished playing with the toy as she would not like it if the toy was snatched out of her hand.
dd: ok
me: can you please help the girl back up? or give her the toy back? i think it will make her feel better.
dd: *helps child* usually spontaneously says something like "i'm sorry. are you ok? let me give you a hug."



my children have lovely manners and it's always complimented on. i am a big believer in manners and i am also a big believer in manners being modelled and taught through modelling exclusively. my 3yo will spontaneously say "please, thank you (very, very much!) and your welcome". even our 15mo said thanks to me the other day and now says please when she wants something. forcing does nothing. i did forced apologies as a child. sometimes i wanted to belt the child instead of saying sorry to them... i never felt heard in those instances and it was sooo unfair that *i* had to say sorry. won't be doing that in this generation of my family.
post #28 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
IMO it is meaningless to make a child SAY they're sorry if they're not sorry. Doesn't teach anything I'm interested in teaching.

I'm much more interested in teaching empathy so that my child will actually BE sorry if they do something that hurts someone else. So we talk a lot about how the other person feels when something goes wrong. Sometimes she gets it, sometimes she doesn't. But little by little she is moving to a place where she can put herself in someone else's shoes without prompting.

A forced apology is meaningless. IMO it's much worse to have a glaring, obviously NOT sorry kid mumble "sorry" than just to move on at that time.

-Angela
As usual, Angela captured my thoughts better than I could have done.

Also, I find forced apologies to be shaming.

I model apologizing to my daughter by being swift to do so when I wrong her or someone else. No one ever apologized to *me* when I was a child, and I think it made it hard for me to learn to do so myself. So I hope that by apologizing to dd when I lose my cool or yell that she will learn it is okay to admit our mistakes and that this helps us heal and move on from them.
post #29 of 77
Children learn to apologize by observing parents and siblings. My two-year-old already says "I'm sorry" when she hurts someone accidentally, and we never made her do that. She just sees that that's what we do.
post #30 of 77
I'm one of those people who always falls over backwards with the "I'm sorry" 's. I think sometimes this is self-effacing and detrimental to myself.

What this means is that, when my child has hurt someone in the usual tussle that young 'uns can get into, I feel this overwhelming need to apologize. I have in the past been hard on my DD about apologizing but then I realized that it was my own issue.

I don't need to apologize for my child's behaviour. But some wise friends pointed out that I can apologize in a genuine way. Example "I'm sorry your feelings got hurt" or "I'm real sorry you got hurt like that". It has helped me feel better by acknowledging the situation without going overboard and apologizing for my child's actions.

It also serves as good modelling for the kids, which I believe in 100%. My kids don't issue automatic pleases and thankyous. Sometimes I cringe when I think they're leaving a bad impression, but so many many other times they just spontaneously erupt with such genuine gratitude and thanks to people that it makes my heart swell...genuine apologies are the same in my books.

Oh, we do talk often however of what apologies are, and how they affect other people.
post #31 of 77
I don't force apologies, but I do express my disappointment to my daughter for her actions, I point out how she made the other child feel by her actions, and I also tell her that I hope she will apologize or find another way to make the child feel better. The consequences depend on the situation. If she is hurting other children then we would leave after one of us apologized to the child. I would also have her write an apology letter by writing the words the best she could and drawing a picture of how she will behave in the future. For other things like not sharing, unkind words, taking a toy, etc... I would have her apologize and make amends.
post #32 of 77
I don't recall if we had to do forced apologies, I do remember my mom taught us to say, "I apologize for knocking you over, etc." And the other person said, "I accept your apology." So, yeah, maybe it was sometimes forced, but more often modeled for us, that was the form. But the offender had to own what they had done and the hurt person had to acknowledge the apology. As we got older, 7 and on, we would apologize w/o prompting.

I think I will use that wording or "I'm sorry for ___." and include the what can you do to help/make it better?
post #33 of 77
Thanks for what you said, Dar.

I'm another 'no forcing apologies' mama.
i wanted to add that the main way I teach spologies, and all the social conventions, is by modelling them.
I make sure I always apologise to DD if it's appropriate. Like if I accidentally bump her, or lose my temper and shout, I'll apologise for it.
if DD does something to another kid, and it seems really appropriate, I will apologise for her.
eg, DD snatches something from another kid and runs off, and I can see that she's not in a mood to talk about it that immediate moment, I will say to the other kid somehting like "I'm sorry [dd] snatched that from you, it wasn't very nice. It looks like she's feeling a bit frustrated/ tired/ etc".

That way, I'm not apologising to the kid for myself, or even on behalf of DD, I'm just sorry that it happened and the kid is upset. the kid (or whoever) gets the apology they expect, DD isn't losing more dignity by being forced to apologise, she isn't being forced to LIE by making an apology she doesn't feel, and it's modeling apologies for DD (and the other kid).

Same for thankyous. If we're in a situation where a "thankyou" would be appropriate under standard conventions, eg, the librarian gives DD a stamp, *I* will address the person and say thankyou. That way, the person gets the thankyou they expect, DD gets the 'thankyou' thing modeled, and no forcing is involved.
post #34 of 77
I'm a no forcing mama, my husband "reminds them" but has never downright forced them except a couple of times. They're good kids, they want to please, but...

They have learned to be insincere apologizers....and it drives me crazy.

At times it does seem sincere and it's easy to spot which is which--you know what I mean.

It takes a few weeks of not being "reminded" by daddy, but I've heard real touching apologies, and they are...well, do you know the Yiddish word Nachas? I have lots and lots of Nachas from my kids when they do the right thing ON THEIR OWN.

Insincerity, IMO has no place in a family (that's a prob my hubby and I have on a larger scale... he's really the gentle sweet, but ultimately an actor...I'm a hotheaded biotch but sincerely warm too! but that's a whole nother thread)
post #35 of 77
We model and treat each other (kids included) with respect. Our children picked up on this at an early age and would sign thank you, please, you're welcome, and sorry before they were speaking. We have never prompted or forced. They do these things genuinely. Honesty is a big thing for me. Honest feelings is included in that.
post #36 of 77
Thread Starter 
I am still reading and soaking up all the input--thank you for sharing...any more input would be awesome...
post #37 of 77
To me a forced apology is an oxymoron. If it's forced, it can't be a true apology, and if a child is ready and emotionally capable of feeling remorse, apologies will come naturally. Of course we want to model kindness and personal responsibility. And I do remember occasions when DS was being truly putrid (in others' eyes) when I acknowledged his behavior and the other child's feelings. I did not apologize for him, because I believed that felt to him like absolution, and didn't add to his understanding or to his growing ability to empathize. But I instinctively knew that this very strong willed and self assured little person would some day internalize a feeling of pro-social desire to not be a PITA. Not that doubt did not creep in heh heh, but I remembered some wonderful guidance, which was, never forget you are raising a man, not a boy. IOWs, parent for the long term, because the limitations inherent in a child's maturity, etc, mean there are going to be a number of things they cannot grasp just yet. Being mad or punitive about these things, to me is like being mad that they are still so short (in stature, that is). Of course, discerning between what they truly do not understand and what they just don't want to be responsible for yet is tricky indeed.
post #38 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by laoxinat View Post
Of course, discerning between what they truly do not understand and what they just don't want to be responsible for yet is tricky indeed.
I think it goes further than this. just because a child understands something on one day, it doesn't mean they understand it tomorrow, or in a parallel, but different situation. Just because they understood that they feel remorse for snatching the ball from baby brother, and apologise for that, doesn't mean they feel and act the same way when they snatch the doll from cousin Jimmy the nest day. This is getting into abstract thinking; something kids develop over time.

IMO, it's unreasonable to expect children to to everything all the time, once they've shown they can do it once.
Just because DD managed to get her dress on all by herself once doesn't mean she is now able to dress herself.
It would be like telling a piano student that they need to play at their absolute best 100% of the time. If they managed to play some difficult piece correctly once, it doesn't mean they're ready for a concert, and can play it at that same proficiency every time thereafter.
Like everything, life takes a little practice
post #39 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by majikfaerie View Post
I think it goes further than this. just because a child understands something on one day, it doesn't mean they understand it tomorrow, or in a parallel, but different situation. Just because they understood that they feel remorse for snatching the ball from baby brother, and apologise for that, doesn't mean they feel and act the same way when they snatch the doll from cousin Jimmy the nest day. This is getting into abstract thinking; something kids develop over time.

IMO, it's unreasonable to expect children to to everything all the time, once they've shown they can do it once.
Just because DD managed to get her dress on all by herself once doesn't mean she is now able to dress herself.
It would be like telling a piano student that they need to play at their absolute best 100% of the time. If they managed to play some difficult piece correctly once, it doesn't mean they're ready for a concert, and can play it at that same proficiency every time thereafter.
Like everything, life takes a little practice
Beautifully put! ITA! OT warning! Gosh, MF, have you been away or am I just : ? Your posts SO rock!
post #40 of 77
I won't speculate what I would do or wouldn't do as my kids are not toddlers or preschoolers anymore. But I do think it would be worthy of people's time to read some of the theorists on morale development (Kohlberg) and on cognitive development (Piaget) before attaching adult thought and values to kids actions of apology.

That being said, it might be worthy to consider if one doesn't encourage or enforce an apology for a wrongdoing in a kid who presently doesn't feel remorse (and most likely won't due to their developmental capabilities) however will they learn appropriate social behavior?

And most often a kid won't feel remorse even if they can understand their behavior was wrong and warrants an apology. (Again a very development dependent thing) If we don't hold them accountable for doing the right thing in a time when they developmentally won't do it on their own (Kohlberg's moral development theory) again how will the learn the appropriate social behavior.

Bottom line, until kids are capable of understanding the appropriate social action at the highest level of morale development, we as adults must be creative in compelling them to do so.
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